Category Archives: middle class

If Trump had kept his campaign promise, a $50k couple would save an extra $2,739 in 2018 taxes

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s new tax law will save less than $9 a week for most working Americans, and many may receive cuts as little as $2.70. Meanwhile, a $1 million filer will gain $628 a week. The GOP plan smells like a few peanuts for the middle class and the elephant’s share of the tax cut designated for the very rich.

Let’s examine how the 2018 income tax really works, compared to what we were promised during the election campaign.

Current law now taxes a married couple for every dollar earned that exceeds $24,000 a year. Last year’s tax floor was $20,800, or a difference of $3,200.

Anyone earning exactly $24,000 in 2018 will save income tax of 10% of that $3,200, or $6.15 a week, versus last year.

What do you do with this $6.15 tax cut? If you are taking Xarelto for heart problems, as millions do, your tax bonanza won’t cover that drug’s $80 a month increase, or offset higher gas prices, or, or…

But what would have happened if candidate Donald Trump’s original tax plan had been adopted? Continue reading →

Middle class seniors forced to pay for that 40% corporate tax cut with reductions to Medicare

Happy holidays came a few days early for big corporations and rich shareholders. Their income tax rate in 2018 will drop from 35% to 21% – exactly a 40% decrease.

Next year, Medicare premiums will go from $109 to $134 per month – a 23% increase in one year. This additional deduction from Social Security benefits wipes out the proposed minimal 2% cost of living increase for most seniors, leaving them with no increase, just inflation losses.

The argument goes that most corporations deserve a tax decrease, because they pay higher income taxes (35%) here than in some other countries. Concerned about the tax burden on our “job creators”, I put together this list of the top 30 largest companies (sales) and what they paid in income tax in 2016.

All told, these firms paid $114.9 billion of income tax on $4,108 billion in sales, or 2.76% rate on sales. Continue reading →

Ryan thinks he is John Galt – defender of the rich, enemy of the poor, not a denizen of the swamp?

Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, begins with a simple question: Who is John Galt?

The answer comes in the last third of that 1957 book, where Galt emerges as the champion of capitalism and defender of Rand’s Objectivism philosophy, which has opposed:

  • Child and Adult Care Food Program
  • Federal Housing Assistance
  • Food Stamps
  • Head Start
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  • Medicare & Medicaid
  • Nationalized Health Care
  • School Lunch and Breakfast Programs
  • Social Security
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program
  • State Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
  • Title XX Social Services Block Grant Program
  • Trade Adjustment Assistance
  • Workers’ Compensation

Galt was not real, but he was a hero to the children of many wealthy families. These sheltered capitalists-in-training saw Ayn Rand as a hero, because she espoused that caring for nobody but yourself was not selfish, but a virtue. Continue reading →

Some seniors will pay a 296% tax increase under “Deep State” deal with media and politicians

Remember the promise of a tax cut primarily for the middle class?

For many Americans that will be a lie, and retired seniors will be hit the hardest, despite the attempted sleight of hand numbers game that “gives” you about double the standard deduction, but doesn’t mention the loss of personal exemptions.

Even worse, the so-called reform means that a couple that used to itemize deductions above $12,700 (under 65) and $15,200 (over 65) will now have to wait until the itemization exceeds $24,000.

The table below shows the current income tax formula for a senior couple with the average Social Security benefit, plus a part-time job, and an RMD. (At age 70 1/2 the government forces you to take out part of your IRA and pay income tax on it every year. If you have stocks or bonds, they must be sold to satisfy the IRS, even if they lost value.)

This average senior couple will pay $1,506 income tax under current law without itemization.

Some might wonder about that tax on Social Security Continue reading →

How the “free market” in toilet tissue tricked you

Sometimes you have to cringe when a Capitalism fan praises the wonder of the “free market.”

For example, “free market competition lowers prices…”

Sounds great, but visit a store and compare the price of batteries from various companies – each one is within a penny of the other.

Listen to the CEO of a major airline who explains: “we no longer compete on price because that’s bad for profits for the entire industry.”

Or, be amazed when the generic drug you are prescribed is made by the same manufacturer as the brand name version and the price of both is nearly identical.

Ah…the “free” market. Some politicians salute this as the cure for rising middle class healthcare costs. Is medical services shopping fun as you put your heart attack on pause to consult with various institutions and learn they have no set price, just schedules of charges that all fall within a close range? Continue reading →

Fake news portrays American Blacks as lower class, victims in desperate need of help from politicians

Are most American Blacks struggling to someday be as successful as the average White?

If you watch the mainstream media, listen to college professors or pay attention to politicians, you might conclude that Blacks in America are in deep trouble.

The most common fake news is that nearly all Blacks have been denied entry into the middle class for a variety of reasons, and experts (mostly White) are needed to solve this problem.

Endless hours are spent on talk shows and in classrooms arguing about what are the correct solutions to this alleged rampant inequality problem. White privilege is blamed. Slavery is cited. Reparations are urged. The whole country is in a frenzy about Blacks and the middle class. Continue reading →

A Philadelphia public school that beat the preps and the 1940 NYPD class that excelled with no legacies

Every high school class has organizers, those busy, enthusiastic souls who run for student council, plan proms and after they graduate, are drawn to suggesting alumni events. The latest test for me to remember classmate names was on Saturday night at Central High School’s 211th class’ 75th member birthday party.

The original graduating class in 1959 had some 210 students; 46 have died. Ours was not the most remarkable class in the school’s history. A list of notable graduates from all classes is here.

In fact, it was good that some of the 211th weren’t there – Rev. Jeremy Wright, for example, who was rebuked by President Barack Obama. Or Kermit Gosnell, an abortion doctor, justly serving time for hideous acts.

There were special moments. Standing together for a class picture, Classmate Richard Donald Smith, who is blind, entertaining with a flute rendition of our school song. It was that kind of night.

Central was an all boys, public high school in Philadelphia, when I attended. There was a brutal entrance exam, also known as an I.Q. test, and the minimum score was 115, and the average was 125. There were 15 other public highs and 16 Catholic high schools in the city, all of them easier and more fun. We went to Central because our parents “suggested” we compete for entrance, and so we braced ourselves. Continue reading →

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